Abbas to renew bid for Palestinian statehood

Palestinian president says he is working on re-submission of resolution to UN that failed to win enough votes last week.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that he was discussing with Jordan plans to resubmit to the United Nations Security Council a resolution calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state that failed to win enough votes last week.

    Palestinian officials hope the UN will be more sympathetic to their resolution, demanding an Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and independence by 2017, although the veto-wielding United States would be all but certain to vote "No" again, as it did on December 30.

    "We didn't fail, the UN Security Council failed us. We will go again to the Security Council, why not? Perhaps after a week," Abbas told officials at a cultural conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian seat of self-rule government.

    "We are studying it, and we will study this with our allies and especially Jordan ... to submit the resolution again, a third time or even a fourth time."

    In the UN vote on Tuesday, the Palestinian draft received eight votes in favour, including France, Russia and China, two against and five abstentions, among them Britain. Australia joined the United States in voting against the measure.

    But any resubmission would face almost certain failure. The US has veto power as one of the council's five permanent members and has pledged to block Abbas's plan, calling it one-sided and unproductive.

    ICC bid

    Abbas signed onto 20 international conventions the next day, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, giving the court jurisdiction over crimes committed on Palestinian lands and opening up an unprecedented confrontation between the veteran peace negotiator and Israel.

    In retaliation for the move to the ICC, Israel announced on Saturday that it would withhold $125m in monthly tax funds that it collects on the Palestinians' behalf, in a blow to Abbas's cash-strapped government.

    "Now there are sanctions - that's fine. There's an escalation - that's fine ... but we're pushing forward," Abbas said.

    Abbas' plan to resubmit the statehood application came as Israel considers its options for further punishing Palestinians after freezing millions in tax revenues as a first response to their attempt to join the International Criminal Court.

    Palestinian leaders responded to the tax freeze by accusing Israel of trying to starve their people as a form of mass punishment.

    The Palestinian move to join the Hague-based court sets the scene for potential legal action against Israel for war crimes, in a bid to put pressure on Israel to pull out of the territories.

    But the request to join the court, formally presented on Friday, angered Israel which quickly moved to freeze the transfer of $127m in tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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